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European Citizens’ Initiative Day: Bringing ECI back to life

Representatives of ALDA were among the key stakeholders invited to discuss main challenges and possibilities for improvements in the European Citizen’s Initiative regulations within the “ECI Day” 2015 that took place on 13 April in the premises of the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) that came into force on 1 April 2012 gives citizens of the EU a unique opportunity to directly place their interests to the center of European policy-making by asking the European Commission to legislate on a matter of its competence. However, the instrument has shown severe limitations when it comes to its complicated procedure, low registration rate and insignificant real impact on European legislation.

Throughout the sessions of the event, ECI was criticized for unclear and inconsistent reasons for rejections of registrations causing that only two initiatives managed to complete the procedure since the instrument was launched. Complains have been also raised for reasons of insufficient time given for collecting the signatures, divergent requierements of EU member states, exclusion of citizens living outside their countries and lack of communication and promotion of the instrument.

Participants had a chance to discuss the issues and take part in proposing their ideas for improvements in afternoon open agenda workshop. In the final session, ALDA contributed along with other stakeholders to the adoption of recommendations. Those that passed the voting – for example proposals concerning improvement in communication, creation of the centralized help desk or tool for collecting the contacts of the signatories in order to provide them with a feedback – will be presented to the Commission and be open to the public debate. 

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